George Bush had much bigger plans for Iraq than simply killing Saddam Hussein, securing his WMDs and handing over control of the oil rich nation to whatever remained of the Ba’ath Party once hostilities ended. Some might consider him naive, but Bush believed that a modern Iraq, one that respected minority and woman’s rights, one ruled by the rule of law rather than the rule of the mullahs, could act as a catalyst in the Muslim world bringing Judeo-Christian values and justice to hundreds of millions who lived their lives in Islamist chains.
It was an audacious goal, one that would be wrought with peril and sacrifice not only for American soldiers, but for the Iraqi people who would ultimately die in their tens of thousands, paying the price for freedom from radical Islam, so that their children might some day live in a world dominated not by Sunni vs. Shia or Christian vs. Muslim divides, but by economic and political opportunity for all.
Bush could’ve cut and run in 2007, but that would’ve meant handing over Iraq to the jihadists. Even though every voice on the left said Iraq was doomed, with Harry Reid saying the war was lost and Obama claiming more troops would accomplish nothing, Bush, not hindered by the defeatism and cowardice of Democrats, forged ahead and ultimately won the peace.
But it was a temporary peace, a battle won in a generational war still to be fought. Bush understood that in order to show the Middle East that lasting freedom could be theirs, America had to remain in Iraq, had to remain engaged in the political process, mediating disputes between Sunnis and Shia, standing up for Christians and most important of all, ensuring equal rights for women who will someday lead Islam out of its seventh century value system and into the modern age.
But Obama just didn’t get it. He never appreciated Bush’s dreams for a more just Middle East. Where Bush saw an oppressed people begging to be free, Obama saw a campaign slogan pleading to be upheld. Obama spent a year crying “Iraq bad, Afghanistan good” to win his way into the White House, and to turn around and commit to protecting the Iraqi people might have been beneficial for them, but it would make Obama look bad in the eyes of the people he cares most about, his fellow liberals. Bush had to be made to look like a fool, even if it meant that many more Iraqis had to die.
It wasn’t that Obama is opposed to war or that liberals mind sending American troops overseas in their tens of thousands – that didn’t stop Obama from sending over 100,000 coalition troops to Afghanistan – it’s just that war is not a personal thing to him. It is a distraction from things that matter most to a liberal, like universal healthcare, taking away American’s guns, winning elections, and golf.
It is Obama’s fundamental unseriousness about foreign policy, and inability to appreciate American military might as a tool for good, that led him to squander our best chance to transform the Middle East. And the worst thing about it was he did it for no reason.
Americans weren’t clamoring against leaving U.S. soldiers in Iraq. They weren’t protesting on the White House lawn, demanding that Obama bring the troops home immediately. In fact, when Obama moved military personnel from Iraq to Afghanistan, there wasn’t a hint of condemnation from the left.
Everyone knew the risk Iraq faced by the U.S. pulling out its troops. We have the best military in the history of the world and our generals told Obama exactly what would happen if he were to abandon Iraq. It was only a few years before that the military faced the exact same situation, but rather than be a coward as Obama chose, Bush stood up to the Islamic radicals and defeated them. We could maintain the peace, but it would take strength of leadership and the willingness to take a stand against the shortsighted liberals in Washington.
Obama was told that at least twenty thousand troops were needed in Iraq to keep the peace, but he wasn’t listening. The man in mom jeans knew better than our military leaders. Obama didn’t care about the sacrifice of the troops. He didn’t care about the over 100,000 Iraqi dead, who didn’t die because of Bush, they died because of Islamic jihad. But an election was coming so he sold them out for a slogan: “I got us out of Iraq, so give me your vote”.
Now Obama is forced to lie about his role in abandoning Iraq to the jihadists, telling the American people that it “wasn’t a decision made by me. That was a decision made by the Iraqi government.” But it was his decision. Having offered to only keep three thousand troops stationed in Iraq, a pittance that no Iraqi politician would put their head on the line to support, Obama is directly responsible for abandoning Iraq to the tragedies we see today.
There are 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, 40,000 in Germany and over 11,000 in Kuwait, and yet at ground zero of the Cold War of the twenty-first century, Obama offered almost nothing, an inexcusable verdict by someone who’s supposed to be the most powerful man in the world.
Liberals accuse Republicans of not caring about people. They say we are racists, more concerned about the interests of rich white people than downtrodden minorities, but who wanted to protect the Iraqis? And who sold them out? Republicans wanted to stay in Iraq to protect the people, while the Democrats left them high and dry.
Women don’t want to be cattle and most Muslim men don’t want to slaughter their neighbors. They too yearn to live and breathe free, but they cannot stand alone against the violent minority who lives in their midst. That’s why it was essential for the U.S. to remain engaged in Iraq, to give support to those who stand for freedom against those would extinguish it.
Bush never got credit for his vision of Iraq, which was in many ways foreign to what most modern thinkers can grasp – a hundred year battle for the hearts and minds of one billion people. A global war that would shake Muslim civilization to its core and continue the tradition of the American Revolution that started over two centuries ago and still reverberates around the world today.
But Obama can’t see it. He does not recognize the unique role that America has played in world history, that we are the arsenal of democracy, the one nation that can and has defeated worldwide tyranny. But rather than fight for what is right, as the American people expect of their President, Obama chose instead to abandon the Iraqi people to the jihadists who will continue to murder thousands in Allah’s name.
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